The difference between Apple and Google
I find myself explaining my standpoint on this repeatedly. Usually, a few times a month, the topic of mobile security will come up on some social media site I am on, and I will have to re-explain why I think Apple is the better choice of mobile ecosystem from a security perspective.
I'm lazy by nature and repeating myself is a lot of work. It also gets tough to express myself in the fairly limiting characters allowed on most social media sites. So, this post is my evergreen post about the topic. If you've followed a link here, someone wants you to read this.
1. Both Apple and Google suck but for different reasons
Both companies have created a walled garden. That's a term that means it's really nice here, enjoy your time, but you can't easily leave. Both Apple and Google have created vast ecosystems that trap users by virtue of making it hard to leave. That's a shitty way to do business but it's the only way for now. You may think that all the good stuff you use daily is trivial to create but it's not. That smartphone you're holding in your hand represents billions of dollars of hardware and software investments by those companies. They get that money back in different ways. Read on.
2. Google is an advertising company. Period.
Google makes its money by selling ads to companies. 86% of Google's revenue comes from ads. Those companies come to Google and say I want males aged 35-37 that make more than $100K a year, live in the mid-west US, and take more than two vacations a year to see my ad. Google says Can do!.
The only reason Google can target those ads so specifically is because Android users constantly feed Google a steady stream of information about who they are. Android phones are telling Google where you work, where you live, and what you buy. Google services tell the rest: who your friends are, where you take your phone on vacation, and how much money you probably make.
Any time you use a Google product you can be sure it only exists as a way to harvest more personal data from you in order to hone the Google advertising machine. By its very nature, Google is a surveillance company.
3. Apple is a tech company
Apple makes money by trying to make products and services it thinks I will like. Apple makes no money from advertising and therefore doesn't need to continually exfiltrate my personal data from my phone in order to increase its revenue.
There's no long paragraph about Apple because it's not necessary. Apple is a corporation and as such it doesn't always behave nicely. But there is a wide chasm between the two company's business models and I prefer the one that doesn't have a vested interest in collecting as much of my data as possible in order to make money.
4. I will leave them both as soon as I can
There are some alternatives currently, but they're not very appealing. Most of the alternative still run some form of Android and although it's technically possible to shut off Google spyware, it's wholly out of reach of normal consumers. Purism is a company that makes Linux-based devices (not Android) and looks pretty close to shipping and there will be others as the cost of hardware decreases and therefore the need to keep us trapped in a specific ecosystem lessens.
I frequently get attacked as an Apple Fanboi. I'm not – I'll ditch Apple as fast as I can. But right now Apple is the better of the two ecosystems for security minded users.